The Timbers of Shorewood honored its 17 veterans Nov. 11 with a ceremony and gifts.
The Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery Honor Guard bugler played taps, and cemetery representatives performed a flag-folding ceremony.
The American Legion Women’s Auxiliary of Lockport provided the gifts. The Timbers staff distributed goodie bags and crocheted poppies for the veterans.
This is just one of the many programs the Timbers hosts for its residents during the year.
The Timbers, a senior living and assisted living facility known for its varied in-home and communitywide activities, celebrated its 20th anniversary Oct. 13.
Featured events through the years have included an annual “senior” prom; visits from therapy dogs; music therapy; monthly musical events (with regular appearances from Del Bergeson and his 10-piece orchestra); a walking club; paint and sips; cocktail hour; book club; Wii bowling; Tai Chi, scrapbooking; and a wide variety of special programming such as history of hats, Civil War and information for veterans.
And, of course, bingo.
Naturally, some programming has changed through the years, but one key trait has remained the same.
“What really hasn’t changed, definitely, is the family feeling of the community,” said Sheila Albor, director of marketing. “Everyone here is like one big family.”
Most of the residents opt for independent living as opposed to assisted living even though residents come to The Timbers later in life, said Albor, who’s worked for the Timbers for 15 years.
People once moved into the Timbers in their 70s and 80s, she said. Now they wait until their 80s and 90s.
“I have a 102-year-old who’s very independent,” Albor said. “She still takes the stairs. She’s been here 20 years.”
Albor is referring to Jean Thuringer, one of the original residents of the Timbers of Shorewood. Thuringer moved into the Timbers in 2002 and was queen of the “senior” prom in 2007.
But living alone in the greater community isn’t always the best choice for older seniors, even if they still are very independent, Albor said.
“When you live independently at home, anything can happen if you fall or if you have a medical emergency,” Albor said. “It could take hours, it could take days to find you.”
Timbers residents typically are more tech-friendly than in the past, although the Timbers still offers technology classes, Albor said.
Consequently, the Timbers is receiving more requests for private internet with Hulu and Netflix capabilities, which it hopes to provide soon, she said. Currently, the Timbers offers basic cable.
Although bingo still is very popular, many residents also ask for educational programs. So the Timbers launched its academy program in 2018, which covers a single topic, such as brain health, over a six-week period.
The Timbers also has a fitness center; a 24-hour concierge service; a restaurant; and linen, housekeeping and transportation services. However, many residents still have active driver’s licenses.
“We actually have so many residents who are still driving that we had to extend our resident parking,” Albor said.
Residents may live independently in their own apartments or use a wide range of assisted living options. But that’s where services end.
“We do not have nursing home care or memory care,” Albor said. “We stop at assisted living. The biggest reason for moving out is that the resident has exceeded independent assisted living and now needs a lockdown unit or memory care, which we do not have here.”
The COVID-19 pandemic, of course, brought its own challenges to the Timbers, with restrictions of visitors and cancellation of group activities.
“It was very sad and very difficult to watch,” Albor said. “Window visits became the norm. But we kept their spirits up.”
Albor said staff sat on chairs near the residents’ doorways for conversation. They also brought activities to their rooms and hosted door-decorating contests.
“I think we did a good job at keeping them busy,” Albor said.
Timbers residents also received COVID-19 vaccinations in January 2021 and COVID-19 boosters later that same year. Staff still wear masks, although masking guidelines vary for residents depending on COVID-19 cases in Will County, Albor said.
The Timbers hopes it can resume its community programs in the future if COVID-19 cases continue to decline. Some of those programs and events include its annual Halloween Spook House, which is a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association; a “Santa and the Timbers’ Elves” holiday party; and its “Hippity-Hop Easter Egg Hunt” that featured 10,000 eggs and a full program of activities.
On Oct. 31, 2019, the Timbers even opened its building to the community for trick-or-treating at the last minute because temperatures had unexpectedly dipped very low that day.
But even weathering the pandemic wasn’t all bad.
“I think everyone has more appreciation for life now,” Albor said.
For more information, visit timbersofshorewood.com.